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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Let the Church Rise

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jul
Let the Church Rise
Sounds like … the multi-ethnic worship flavor of Israel & New Breed and Martha Munizzi, as performed by someone like Jeremy Camp, Tommy Walker, or Travis CottrellAt a glance … though not all the songs are immediately engaging, energy, musicianship and a multi-cultural flair are the identity marks of Bethany's worship ensembleTrack Listing My God You Give Me Joy To Deserve Come Reveal Chasing After You Let the Church Rise Get Ready for Revival We Praise Your Name You Reign Unfailing Love Father You're Glorious Let the Church Rise (Bonus Radio Version)

Although Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, La., is no stranger to worship music—gospel sensation Martha Munizzi recorded her third live album, No Limits, there—the church doesn't just want to be known for its high-energy praise services. Its slogan is "passion for God and compassion for people," a motto that was put to the test when the church was hosted over 1,000 evacuees affected by Hurricane Katrina. Of those people, the church says over 800 gave their hearts to the Lord.

Let the Church Rise is the church's first live album and the second release from Integrity's initiative, a fledgling creative hotbed where congregations can pool worship resources and sing each other's songs. Bethany adds 11 originals to the fray, all of which, for the most part, reflect the church's diverse ethnic makeup.

Worship leader Jonathan Stockstill had a hand in writing every song, including the powerful title track, which he co-wrote with Israel Houghton (of Israel & New Breed fame) as an extension of the church's mission. As "Let the Church Rise" attests, Stockstill's strengths are the ballads, most of which are rich in corporate value. A few of them ("Chasing After You," "Unfailing Love," "Father, You're Glorious") fail to distinguish themselves, not for their lack of passion or energy, but because of difficult melodies or unusual rhyme patterns.

Despite the Houghton and Munizzi connections, Bethany's vibe isn't quite as rhythmic or urban as either worship leader's style. Instead, its flavor recalls the soulful pop of Tommy Walker or the gospel-worship hybrid of Travis Cottrell, but as performed with the throaty baritone of Jeremy Camp or Alvin Slaughter. Some songs ("You Give Me Joy," "Get Ready for Revival") do have a celebratory spunk to them, but on the whole, Let the Church Rise is straightforward contemporary worship, from a church that values music as much as its service to the community.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.